Sole purpose

When I make something, I want it to last (unless it’s food). If I put hours into knitting or crocheting, I’d like the finished object to be used for years to come, so choosing the right materials to work with is very important. For example, I have learned that sock yarn is essential for hard-wearing socks – with the best intentions, a normal 4-ply is useless, as you’ll have holey socks in no time at all.

Making slippers has been quite an experiment in terms of finding the right yarn because, unlike socks, there is no yarn specifically designed for slippers. And, my word, does it need to be hard-wearing. Originally I tried out a variety of yarns, but finally settled on Axminster – the stuff they make carpets out of – because this is designed to be walked on day in and day out, just like a pair of slippers. However, by the time that I discovered this yarn, I’d already made several pairs of slippers with other yarns.

Oh no, a hole!

Oh no, a hole!

My own pair needed repairing some time ago – they are made with a combination of chunky 100% wool yarn and a couple of strands of sock yarn. Mr Snail’s were made from Pure Whitefaced Woodland Wool from Blacker yarns (no longer available), which has lasted about 15 months before wearing through. Mine had new soles a while ago, but Mr Snail’s slippers came in for the Axminster treatment this weekend. Rather than simply darning them (I hate darning), I made them complete Axminster soles, covering up the damaged part and returning them to functionality.

Axminster sole

Axminster sole

The Axminster yarn contains about 20% nylon to make it much tougher than pure wool. Part of me really wants to use only natural fibres, but I have to acknowledge that the presence of nylon does make this yarn much more hard-wearing and, therefore, ideal for this purpose. I’ve written about yarn ethics in the past and I still struggle to find a perfect option in all cases. However, by choosing this particular yarn for this particular use, my work lasts longer and the slippers need repairing or replacing much less frequently, thus conserving resources and making the best use of my time. I think that’s as good as it’s going to get!

Good as new

Good as new

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12 Comments

  1. Interesting that Mr Snail should affect the one sock look. Love the clever fix. You are on your A game Ms Snail πŸ™‚

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  2. There has to be a good purpose for nylon and this is it for sure. I used to make slippers for my family back in the 70’s and they never lasted long either.

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  3. the slippers look extraordinarily comfy now. I also noticed the single sock look. Is it a Welsh thing? πŸ™‚

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  4. Were toes au naturel considered a bit scary, hence an attractive green sock, or has his other sock cuff just slipped down a bit? Very fetching new sole colours, by the way, you can tell a Snail has been at work there by the purple….

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  5. Lovely renewed slippers!!!

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  6. As good as new and as warm as toast

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  7. I get a kick out of mended items. πŸ˜€

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  8. My marauding toes kept in check! πŸ™‚

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